Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Linga cover with the face of Shiva


    • currently in research collection

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Publications online

  • Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum by J. C. Harle and Andrew Topsfield

    Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum

    These seven objects belonged to a large collection of brass images, ritual objects, implements, ornaments and toys which was formed by Major (later colonel) C. Eckford Luard in the former Central Indian Agency between 1900 and 1903. Luard served in this area for a number of years as Superintendent of Gazetteer and of Census Operations. He compiled the several volumes of Central Indian State Gazetteers (1907-12), as well as writing other works, including guide-books to Dhar and Mandu and the Dilwara temples at Mount Abu. In later life he lived at Boar’s Hill, Oxford, and part of his collection was presented to the Indian Institute’s museum by his widow in 1936 [see EAOS.108]. Luard’s earlier article describing the collection in the Journal of Indian Art and Industry is still useful in the identification of regional types of such late brass objects, which are otherwise scantily documented.

    One of the most interesting and unusual objects is the large hollow liṅga cover [EAX.292], which would have been placed over the stone emblem of the god in a Śiva temple; a very similar example can be seen in situ in the Udayeśvara (Madhya Pradesh) in a published photograph (Daniélou, loc. cit.). The cover itself bears the face of Śiva, in the manner of an ekamukhaliṅga. It has eyelets at the side for attaching chains. The copper top may be a later replacement. Luard notes, “…the screw in front must once have borne a figure of Gaṅgā. This is a very rare piece, such specimens being seldom obtained…”. Comparable liṅga covers, with heroic or martial faces, are found in Maharashtra and Karnataka (Jayakar loc. cit.).

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